Economic Change and the National Question in Twentieth-Century Europe

By Alice Teichova; Herbert Matis et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
Economic aspects of Slovak national development in the
twentieth century
Roman Holec

In the twentieth century the central European region experienced frequent political and systemic changes. Due to the complex and sensitive nature of Slovakia's national and political development, questions were asked about the meaning of Slovak history, which have polarised the entire society. Slovakia's economic development faithfully conformed to all stages of political changes, which outwardly appeared as economic nationalism. During the greater part of the twentieth century Slovaks remained on the defensive regarding their legal status and their position in the state.

Under the conditions of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy Slovaks had to resist strong Magyar national — political as well as economic – pressures. Liberal legislation and the decisive role of the state in the economy, characteristic of Hungary, were accompanied by efforts to control and restrict non-Magyar business activities. This became evident in strong tendencies towards centralisation affecting banking, as well as co-operatives with the intention to prevent the use of accumulated capital in the furtherance of political goals hostile to the interests of the state. 1

In such conditions a significant defensive role was played by active Czech—Slovak co-operation. While publications have dealt with the political aspects, less attention has been paid to economic co-operation between the two nations, which supported the Slovaks' endeavour to achieve national emancipation and assisted in furthering their own economic activities. As Slovak economic nationalism was strengthened during this process, it gradually created conflicts and contradictions in the economic field. Nevertheless, Czech—Slovak economic co-operation positively influenced several areas of Slovak development. An important part, for instance, was played by the education of economic personnel at schools in Bohemia and Moravia, the so-called Apprenticeship Scheme of the Českoslovanská jednota (Czechoslav Union), whose

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